GUEST COLUMN: Unlocking the power of data to enhance care quality

Andrew Coles II

Marking International Nurses Day today, Global Head of Product, Andrew Coles, explains how Person Centred Software can help nurses deliver better quality care.

Care home environments deal with many social, medical, clinical, and mental health needs. It’s paramount for any person living in a care home setting to receive the appropriate level and type of support that promotes good health and wellbeing whilst keeping them safe. These needs are not independent but are interrelated and impact one another – and the best support, care and treatment plans must consider all these factors.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the social care sector particularly hard and demonstrated the need for data sharing while showcasing the importance of data to support critical decisions. This led to much of the government’s focus on growing data standards and helping care providers go digital by adopting digital care systems.

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However, data and digital is an easy ‘catch all’ statement. To maximise its usefulness, data needs to be of the highest quality, shouldn’t be a burden, and must support its users to make informed clinical decisions.

At Person Centred Software, we use the ‘4 V’s’ to measure the quality of data:

Velocity – How quickly data flows and becomes information

Veracity – How accurate and consistent data is

Variety – The breadth and scope of data

Volume – The amount of data

The data captured on our software scores very highly in all four areas and is a distinctive capability of our offering, which opens a range of opportunities, such as building predictive care models that allow those responsible to be alerted of changes in need. Data analytics and machine learning can spot trends and provide prompts to support decision making that supplements the intimate knowledge care home teams have of the people they support.

Traditionally, the care sector has been very reactive and has often relied on a retrospective lens, especially when it comes to data sharing. So, a key challenge for us was how we could ensure digital technology promoted proactive, preventative and early interventions and the least restrictive care and support. On top of this, how were we going to ensure care providers help the people they support to have the best balance of risk versus quality of life and keep the right level of independence?

To overcome this challenge, our focus when designing products, features, and solutions was centred around the people it would serve. The aim was to ensure a clinically safe product focused on delivering positive outcomes, goals, and experiences that ultimately enhance well-being.

Additionally, our Digital Care System promotes personalised, proactive, and clinically safe care, with key features such as:

Bowel Alerts – enables nurses and managers to track bowel movements and prompts for investigation when no bowel movements are recorded.

Fluid Watch – personalised fluid targets can be set for each resident based on their hydration needs. A rolling monitor of fluids offered and consumed is available during the handover, always giving visibility across the community.

Post-fall Strategy – when a fall is recorded in the Care Delivery App, it will automatically generate a planned follow up of actions to check for neuro observations and any sign of injury.

Clinical pathways – soft signs and NEWS2 observations are recorded at the point of care. The NEWS2, a physical deterioration and escalation tool for care/nursing homes, provides guidance based on the score and enables users to monitor for any changes or deterioration.

Baseline Observations & Personalised Responses – the normal range for clinical observations can be recorded for each resident. In addition to this, a personalised response can be recorded that gets displayed to users at the point of care, so they know how best to support someone.

Oral Health – comprehensive assessment tools enable nurses and clinical teams to promote best practices and to ensure care plans are thorough. Oral health is often an area overlooked, but our Digital Care Record incorporates industry best practices.

Handover – events can be flagged by the care team, but the Digital Care Record can be configured to show events automatically based on the outcome.

Who I Am – a person-centred profile communicating how best to support a resident is available at the touch of a button and is also available when working offline.

Personalised Care Actions – our unique action, icon-driven care records enable personalised information to be available to the care team when they are providing and recording care interactions. This encourages care to be delivered in the best way that meets service users’ clinical and social needs.

Risks to be aware of – always appears on the resident profile, the ‘Must know’ information automatically shows key risks (such as food allergies) pulling data from the care record. Risks can also be personalised to the residents’ needs.

The Digital Care System also enables care providers to change how data is utilised to enhance the level of care, empower users, and support citizens as they transition through health and social care services while also improving the lives of those who live and work in care settings.

Indeed, the health and social care sector needs all the support it can get, especially coming off the back of a global pandemic that has forever changed the complexity of the industry. However, at the same time, it has also granted opportunities to rethink, do things differently and use technology as an enabler.

Person Centred Software operates globally with key territories in the UK and Australia. A global approach allows the company to learn and share experiences with other nations – we also have great people thinking about solutions 24/7, all year round. The most recent example of this is Joined Up Care, where in the UK, we have connected over 14,000 care home beds to their GP and acute services, and we are doing the same in Australia with the My Health Record.

An overwhelming majority of what we do is universal to care services across the globe. An idea from a user in Newcastle, Australia, could help a person receiving care in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England – some 10,500 miles (16,800 Km) away!

As we develop the next generation of products, we can use our distinct capability of high-quality data to start making predictive alerts that will help clinical staff. That said, we’ve already found data models that can predict changes in dependency, an increased risk of falling and even early signs of infections, which we believe will be a game-changer for the sector.

Ultimately, these key fundamental interventions pose an opportunity for the social care sector to prevent or reduce deterioration while simultaneously increasing overall wellness. However, these models need to be ethical and promote positive behaviours to guarantee the freedom and choice of everyone.

Tags : Care Planning SystemsInternational Nurses DayPerson Centred Software
Lee Peart

The author Lee Peart

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